The Pacific nation of Samoa has banned Elton John’s biopic “Rocketman” because of depictions of homosexuality in the movie.
Samoa’s principal censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui told the Samoa Observer on Tuesday that the homosexual activity depicted on screen violated laws and didn’t sit well with the country’s cultural and Christian beliefs.
Under Samoa’s 2013 Crimes Act, sodomy is deemed an offense that is punishable by up to seven years in prison, even if both parties consent.
The censor noted that the movie is “a good story, in that it’s about an individual trying to move on in life.”
Apollo Cinemas Samoa wrote on Facebook that “due to censoring issues we have had to cancel Rocketman.”
“Rocketman” is a movie that examines the sexuality and relationship of John and his then-manager John Reid.
The movie stars Taron Egerton who does his own singing as John in the musical fantasy that aims to capture the essence of the musician’s life.
The movie was also censored in Russia due to scenes that featured gay sex and drug use.
John in a joint statement with the filmmakers said that it was a “sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly un-accepting of the love between two people.”
Russian gay rights activists and prominent figures denounced the move. Although homosexuality is not criminalized in Russia, animosity toward gay people remains strong.
About 97% of people in Samoa identify as Christian, and the society is generally considered conservative and traditional.
Since opening 10 days ago, “Rocketman” has taken in about $101 million at theatres around the world.